Philadelphia Parks, Google Docs, Reddit, More: Friday Buzz, May 20, 2016

This issue of ResearchBuzz is very Googly because of Google I/O. The next few will probably be Googly as well. I apologize in advance.


The trails and parks of Philadelphia will be mapped by Google Trekker. “Staff from Philadelphia’s Department of Parks and Recreation will hike around several sites, covering 200 miles of trails and attractions. By the end of October, Parks and Rec will submit the data to Google, which will edit the images and add them to Google Street View within another six to 12 months.”

Google has launched new developer tools for Docs. “Software makers can start working with a new tool that lets them sync data between a Google Sheet and their application for easy data compilation and sharing among people who use the online spreadsheet software. In addition, Google also announced a new Slides API that will allow users to automatically populate slide decks with information from outside sources.”

Reddit has launched a new tool for embedding posts. “The company unveiled a new tool for embedding Reddit comments on outside sites, announcing the feature to media outlets Friday. Reddit worked with a number of outlets, including The Post, AOL and CNET for months to get the embedding features right. Why the change? Mark Luckie, Reddit’s head of newsroom outreach, said that the company wants to forge a closer relationship with news organizations that are already writing their fair share of Reddit content.” I’d much rather see an embedded Reddit thread than a site cherry picking responses off a Reddit thread, illustrating them with stock photos, and then making an article and plastering ads all over it. But that’s just me.


Hey, this is kind of a neat idea: a SI (Supplementary Instruction) leader at Wayne University created fake Facebook profiles to help teach students about scientists. Mostly images of the created profiles, which are written on large sheets of paper and tacked to the wall.

From Travel Tacoma: good tourism Instagrams to follow. Plus a vegan chef Instagram because why not, and now I’m hungry for avocados.


Google has announced a VR platform for Android. “Google was widely expected to introduce the ‘Nexus’ of virtual reality headsets at this year’s developer conference. That’s not exactly what happened. Instead of creating a single standalone piece of VR headgear with its own built-in computer, Google is launching a hardware and software platform — dubbed Daydream — to help any Android smartphone manufacturer create a VR headset themselves.”


The developers behind the TeslaCrypt ransomware have shut down and released the master decryption key. AND! “Now that the decryption key has been made publicly available, this allowed TeslaCrypt expert BloodDolly to update TeslaDecoder to version 1.0 so that it can decrypt version 3.0 and version 4.0 of TeslaCrypt encrypted files. This means that anyone who has TeslasCrypt encrypted files with the .xxx, .ttt, .micro, .mp3, or encrypted files without an extension can now decrypt their files for free!”

Google is appealing France’s “Right to be Forgotten” order. “Alphabet Inc’s Google appealed on Thursday an order from the French data protection authority to remove certain web search results globally in response to a European privacy ruling, escalating a fight on the extra-territorial reach of EU law.”


Facebook’s voter registration push in California was apparently a huge success. “California Secretary of State Alex Padilla reported today that there were nearly 200,000 completed transactions on the California Secretary of State’s online voter registration website on Monday, May 16 and Tuesday, May 17. This spike coincided with a new Facebook effort to facilitate voter registration in California. On Monday, May 16, 2016, Californians who logged into their Facebook accounts began receiving a reminder to register to vote through a link appearing at the top of their News Feed. The results were stunning.”

From The New York Times Magazine: How I learned to love Snapchat. “Text barely captures even a fraction of that emotional depth and texture, even when we can type as much as we want. Snapchat is just the latest and most well realized example of the various ways we are regaining the layers of meaning we lost when we began digitizing so many important interactions.”

Google has patented flypaper for people. Okay, it’s not quite that simple, but… “Yesterday, Google was awarded a patent that proposes placing a strong adhesive on the hood of its autonomous cars. This way, pedestrians or cyclists who happen to find themselves being struck by a Googlemobile would be protected from what’s called ‘secondary impact.’ This is the part of a crash, when a person is thrown back off the moving vehicle, usually hitting the roof of the car, the hard surface of the street, or another car. It’s often the part that causes the most serious injuries.” Good morning, Internet…

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